Monday, April 19, 2010

Law School

When I was a little kid, my dad told me that I would make a great lawyer. He wasn't saying that I had to be one or that it would be the best thing for me to do or that he wouldn't love me if I wasn't. He didn't spend my life training me to go. He didn't pound it into my head that it was completely essential for me to go to law school and that that was to be my direction in life. No, all he said was that I would probably enjoy it and that I'd be good at it. When I was a little kid I took it as a compliment because he thought I was smart enough to be a lawyer. As I got older, though, he just kind of left it as I went on to pursue my own ideas.

Last year, I was taking a criminal justice class where my teacher prompted discussions and thought about criminal cases. I didn't talk much, but it always made me think of what my position would be and for the first time challenged me to defend it. I loved it. So my dad said again what I had heard so long ago, "Have you thought about being a lawyer? It's very similar to what you're experiencing, and you would be really good at it." I thought about it, but I was still stuck on the idea that I wanted to do forensic work, be a criminal profiler, all of that fun jazz. Plus, I was thinking about lawyers with the stereotype that Hollywood projects. So, while it spiked my interest a bit, I put it in a back corner of my mind.

This semester, my science classes for my degree have been kicking my ass. I've gotten so frustrated with it that I've been tempted to just give up on science and major in something else. So I added a second major, Psychology. Contradictory, yes, but in the pathway of becoming a profiler, it makes sense. While I wanted to drop Forensic Biology, though, I realized just how close I was to graduating with that degree, and it seemed like a waste of time and energy to not follow through. I only have a year left. One year, and I will be done with Forensic Biology. And I learned that I could finish Psychology as well. This means that this time a year from now, I will be 20 years old and about to finish college with two undergraduate degrees. Intense, I know.

I was talking to my dad about finishing school next May and he brought up grad school. He asked if I thought about it and what I wanted to do once I graduated. I told him I really didn't know. It's true. The thought of graduating is amazing. The sense of accomplishment I'd have is absurd. To me, graduating like that would make up (in my mind) for all of my academic failures in the past. It would be the statement that says, "Look at me! I'm smart! I can do whatever I want to do and nothing will hold me back!" So while I'm stoked to graduate, I'm also horrified, because what am I supposed to do after I graduate? I'd have a degree in Forensic Bio and another in Psychology. What the hell do I do with that? I don't want to work in a lab. Being a psychologist isn't bad, but honestly, the likelihood have having guaranteed work in this economy is low. So no. I don't know. So my dad brings up grad school and I'm thinking, "Well crap, I could go but I don't know what I'd study and how would I pay for it and there's a myriad of problems and questions and issues to think about before I could possibly go." His suggestion: What about law school?

First off, until this point I didn't even know that law school was a graduate program. I'm not even sure that I connected it into the realm of normal academic schooling because you go to specific "law schools" and you study law. It's a category of its own. At least that's what I thought. Now I know that in order to get your doctorate of jurisprudence (J.D.) you have to go through a law program at an accredited school and it falls into the category of a Graduate School Program. Who knew? Not me.

Second though, maybe that's a good idea. It would give me something to study. I'd have a direction to go. Wandering aimlessly in life without direction or purpose is horrifying to me. Now I'd have a direction. And UNM is one of the best law schools in the country. Lawyers will always have a job, and there is financial security. I can live a comfortable lifestyle. But would I enjoy it?

I remembered what I felt last year, and so I decided, "Why don't I look into this? It wouldn't hurt to look." So I did. I looked at UNM first because it's in my hometown of Albuquerque, started to read about their program, and look at various aspects about what law school entailed. It was one of the most interesting things I've ever looked at! So I decided maybe it's worth a shot. I looked at various requirements to get in, and started to think, "You know, I could probably do this." I kept hearing about the LSAT (Law School Admissions Test), and so I looked into what that was. I read about it and while they kept saying it was super difficult, it just didn't sound that hard to me. I figured a better test of that would be to look at practice questions to use as a better judge. Of all the questions I took (granted, it wasn't that many), I got about 90% of them right. I wasn't actually trying. So now I'm thinking that with some preparation, I could actually do this.

The classes sound crazy interesting. Stereotype law sounds horrendous, but I think about all my experience with law (about 4 college classes worth) and I realize that I loved all of it. So which is a better indication of what I'd think about it, a stereotype from a place that always fucks up everything and doesn't get anything right, or classes that focus on it and are way closer to the actuality of it than television could ever get? It was at this point that I decided to go to law school.

So this is my plan now. While graduating next May was only a possibility, I intend on making it a reality. Law schools only start in the fall semesters, so if I graduated in December I'd have to kill eight months before I could start school. I need at least decent grades, so I'm determined to do well academically as best I can this semester and for certain for my last three. I am going to spend this summer studying my ass off for the LSAT, and I am going to take it in October. By February of next year I will have my application completed for UNM. And I am going to get in.

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